Age is a big deal in Korea. Since a lot of the culture is still based on Confucianism, the older you are, the more respect you yield. Age applies to how you address people and how you act. It’s a big deal.
That’s why coming here fresh out of university can be a slight disadvantage at times. Because I’m 22 (23 Korean age), everyone is older than me. Since Korean males need to do military service, they’re around 25 or 26 when they graduate from university. This makes me the youngest person at most meetings. It’s not to say that it excludes you from anything, it’s just that people will regard you more as “little brother” than “friend” (a friend in Korean is someone of the same age). At the school, you have the students aged between 12 and 14, me at 23, and the teachers starting somewhere in their late 20s early 30s.
I asked someone to guess my age last night and they said 25. I claimed I was 45, married and had 3 kids, the only reason I looked so young was because I shaved my mustache. Obviously that didn’t take. So I’m thinking of “adjusting” my age when people ask, depending on the situation, to a healthy 25. Now I just need to memorize my “new” birthday.